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Police intercept bakkie with 23 bags of gold bearing material, five arrested

Bakkie with gold bearing material intercepted police

PHOTO: SUPPLIED


Five suspected illegal miners were arrested in Sabie in Mpumalanga on Thursday after 23 bags of gold bearing material were found in their possession.

Colonel Donald Mdhuli said a preliminary investigation suggested that the load was being transported all the way from Ngodwana to Sabie, where the material was allegedly supposed to be processed.

The five suspects - two South Africans and three Zimbabwean nationals - are expected to appear in court on Friday.

They are between the ages of 33 and 59.

Colonel Mdhuli says none of the five suspects had a permit to possess the gold bearing material hence they were apprehended and charged for unlawful possession of the material.

He said the arrests were made by SAPS members from the Provincial Management, Operation Vala Umgodi team, Ehlanzeni Tactical Response Team and the K-9 Unit.

It followed reports of alleged illegal miners who were armed with firearms, Colonel Mdhuli said.

"It is said that some suspected illegal miners who were armed, somehow got away as soon as they realized that Police were on the way, thereby evaded the arrest," he said in a statement.

He added: "Whilst the astute members drew nearer to the scene, where illegal miners were conducting their business, a suspicious looking vehicle - a white Colt single cab bakkie - was intercepted by the police, between Nelspruit and Sabie.

"The vehicle with five occupants was fully loaded with 23 bags of gold bearing material."

Meanwhile additional charges in relation to the Contravention of the Immigration Act of South Africa were laid against the Zimbabwean nationals as they did not have valid documentation to be in the country.

In this matter, police are working in collaboration with officials from the department of Home Affairs," he said.

The gold bearing material was seized during the arrest whilst the vehicle they were driving in, was also confiscated for further investigation as Police are adamant that the car was used in the commission of crime.